Every good sports coach knows the importance of judgment when calling a “time out”. Applied at just the right moment, they create strategic flashes that can turn the tide of any game, and effectively interrupt the flow of the opposing team and disrupt their momentum. “Time outs” also re-focus resources and galvanize the energy to move forward in a more intelligent manner.
Calling “time out” in your business creates the same effect.
Confessions of a Strategic Business Coach
Recently, when working on a series of projects, I could tell I needed a break. There were “early warning signs” signaling prime poor performance and burnout was ahead.
I was holding my break. Rushing through the project in order to check it off my list. Carrying on three different conversations in my own head about what I’d rather be doing. I wanted to escape from the project. Any of these sound familiar? (P.S. No client project was harmed in the doing of this project.)
It wasn’t that I didn’t want to do the project. I loved the project…when I started it. Unfortunately, I had worked on the project for an extended period of time. I had drained the resources I needed to continue to perform at a level to which I had become accustomed. I needed a “time out”.
Learning to Avoid Burnout
Growing up in “farming country”, you learn to push yourself through the difficulties and angst of work. Alas, I learned the error of that strategy the hard way.
Following many years of a grueling self-imposed work schedule, I experienced a health crisis. (Is anyone really surprised?) During my recovery (and relearning) phase, I worked with a body worker who shared this sage advice: Life is like a river that has a flow. You have to let it take you where it wants you to go.
Yikes! That’s tough medicine to swallow for someone with a strong work ethic and analytical thinking. I learned through experimenting with the concept how right she was.
Whenever I felt the need to push myself back from my desk, I acted on it – not as a mindset of avoidance but rather an indication that I had blown through my resources and it was time to refuel. Or, whenever my desk didn’t call my name, I knew another need required attention before my performance was ready to kick in.
Scientific Data Supports Result – Rest Cycle
If it’s difficult to trust your gut, there’s now new research demonstrates that calling a “time out” is the ideal strategy for accelerated performance.
Pierre Khawand, author of The Results Curve(TM): How to Manage Focused and Collaborative Time, discovered after a decade of research that the best results are achieved after 40 minutes of focused work following by 20 minutes of collaboration.
Tony Schwartz, President of The Energy Project, discovered the accelerated performance benefits of what he calls The 90-Minute Solution. Through his work, Tony uncovered scientific research revealing the human body’s natural 90/20 cycle. Apparently, carrying the 90/20-minute sleep cycle into our day dramatically influences performance.
Do you need to call a “time out”? After completing this blog, I do! Come join me. Let’s call a “time out”.